DHCP: SonicWall TZ170 vs. Windows 2003 Server

Posted on 2005-04-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-03-06
Hello Experts.

I'm in the process of designing a new network for a client and have the following question:  What are the advantages/disadvantages of letting a firewall solutiong like the SonicWall handle DHCP as opposed to letting Win Server 2003 handle it?  Also, If firewall handles DHCP, should server need to act as DNS?

Current configuration of this client is Linksys Router handling DHCP (no firewall) with Win NT server handling AD and acting as primary domain controller.  Currently serving 8 clients running Win 98.   I'll be moving them to Server 2003 and all clients running XP Pro.  Server will still be PDC with AD.  I'm not planning on using it for DNS unless there are good advantages for doing so.

All opinions are appreciated.

Question by:stephenm93
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LVL 33

Accepted Solution

NJComputerNetworks earned 800 total points
ID: 13699396
Basically, if you are going to setup the Windows 2003 server in a domain, it is manditory that the Windwos 2003 server be used as the DNS server.

It is best to use Windows 2003 DNS and DHCP.  The reason is that DHCP can autoregister clients that are not Windows 2000 or higher OS into DNS for you.  

In general, I would not use your router for DHCP or DNS.  The Windows Server functionality is better...this is more important if you are going to use Active Directory.


Author Comment

ID: 13699578
Thanks NJ.

What would you recommend for hardware configuration?  Below is what I propose:

                                                                  |->  Server 2003 (PDC, DHCP, AD, DNS, WINS)
DSL -> (WAN) Firewall (LAN) -> Dell Switch -
                                                                  |-> LAN Clients

I only plan on using one NIC on the server and letting LAN clients remain inside the firewall.  All external traffic in and out would then pass through the SonicWall.  Might there be a better route to take?

Thanks again.
LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 13699921

You approach looks very logical.  This is that same design I have used in many different companies.  It is a solid design.

After you perform the installation, you will have to forward Windows 2003 DNS to the ISP DNS servers for Internet DNS resolution.  You DSL ISP will give you these settings.  Make sure to turn off DNS and DHCP on the Router/Firewall.


Author Comment

ID: 13699943
Great.  I will do just that.

Regards and thanks for the quick response.


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